Young Singaporeans not ready to have babies

It may not be surprising that financial concerns are preventing Singaporeans from having more babies, but more young Singaporeans are saying that they are not emotionally prepared to have children as well.

The Straits Times reported that this reason was the second most-quoted for not having babies in a survey of more than 600 people, aged between 21 and 39, by voluntary welfare organisation, I Love Children (ILC). About two in five people cited this reason, compared with three in 20 in 2010.

Other reasons given included careers being priority, and the lack of good and affordable childcare support.

Most of the respondents were married for more than two years without children. The rest were single, soon-to-wed, newly wed, married with a child or married with two children. The survey was done to understand parenthood concerns and perceptions of young couples.

About four in 10 respondents said they would have children with support from family, including their spouses, parents, or members of the extended family. This sentiment was in line with that voiced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his Chinese New Year message when he said that it was important to have a supportive social climate and attitudes that encourage couples to have more children.

ILC president Joni Ong told The Straits Times that this was no surprise, given that younger Singaporeans are not taught that family was part of the equation of being successful, even in school. She noted that this mindset has to change in order to boost the total fertility rate in Singapore.